A metalinguistic approach to deconstructing the concepts of 'face' and 'politeness' in Chinese, English and Japanese

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Haugh, Michael
Hinze, Carl
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Jacob Mey (University of Southern Denmark)
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2003
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Abstract

In this paper we investigate the concepts of 'face' and 'politeness'. We introduce a metalanguage which we believe is a framework for simplifying the analysis of 'face' and 'politeness'. This metalanguage is based on the observation that both 'face' and 'politeness' involve external evaluations of people. This common element is represented in the metalanguage as "what A shows A thinks of B" and "what B thinks A thinks of B". The implications of the metalanguage for the analysis of Chinese mian and lian ('face') and English face are then discussed. This is followed by an analysis of examples of politeness in English and teineisa/reigi-tadashisa ('politeness') in Japanese. We conclude that the metalanguage may be further developed for use in comparisons of 'face' and 'politeness' across cultures.

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Journal of Pragmatics
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© 2003 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
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Cognitive Sciences
Linguistics
Philosophy
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